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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  January 17, 2014 4:00pm-5:01pm PST

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close to him. i used to hang out with him when he would come to town. he put it all on the line, never knowing what the results would be. the greatest is he that gives up the most. he will in turn receive the most. happy birthday, champ. you stood up. we'll never forget it. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. have a great weekend. "hardball" starts right now. operation road hog. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this, with at least a dozen subpoenas issued by this week's end and a growing list of office holders past and present scurrying for protection, both legal and political, the reputation of new jersey itself stands on trial.
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it's not just the re-elected chris christie who faces peril, but those in both parties in the legislature as well as the governor's office. can the leaders and key investigators in trenton get to the bottom of this operation road hog that has disgusted the country, or will they be block bade political buddy-buddy system that protects the politician while ignoring the public? well, the good politics now of catching the perpetrators and preventing such acts from happening again overwhelm the people who have committed those acts and sought to hide them. well, the good politics of catching the bad guys in this episode beat the bad politics of those who now nervously wait for the wheels of justice to commence? as the machinery of this investigation emerges this friday with each new output of subpoenas, this is the question that looms. as those searching for truth go to wore with those who try to hide it, who is going to come out on top? will there be enough juice
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behind the probe? lewis greenwald serves on the special investigative committee himself. loretta weinberg is a state senator whose district includes ft. lee and has been fighting to get to the bottom of this scandal since it began. and now we have the finalist of subpoenas issued by the special legislative committee investigating the deliberate george washington bridge traffic jams, or as i call it, operation road hog. and here they are. bridget anne kelly, christie's deputy chief of staff who was fired by the governor. bill stepien, who was christie's campaign manager. charles mcken narcotics christie's chief counsel. port authority chairman david samson. bill baroni, the former deputy director of the port authority appointed by christie. david wildstein a new jersey political appointee at the port authority. kevin o'dowd, his chief of staff and appointee to become new jersey attorney general. regina egea, christie's designated new chief of staff. and mikeful drewniak, press secretary. maria kanell.
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for his reelection campaign, and evan ridley, another christie aid. phillipe danielides. christina lado. and paul nunziato, the port authority police yoon authority. also nicole davidman who worked on fundraising for the christie cam mean. colin reed, and the entity christie for governor incorporated. and the office of the governor itself. let me go to assembly leader lewis greenwald, sir. give us a sense of what you think the widespread of subpoenas tells about the nature of the investigation now being under taken. >> well, chris, we have cast this net on the advice of counsel from the original e-mails that were turned over. and a scan of those e-mails and investigative review of those e-mails to see where the points of connection were. these subpoenas are, really,
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they are a discovery tool. they are nothing more than that. they are not to cast blame or take anything from that as to allegations of what role these people may have played. but from being a part of the e-mails and that e-mail chain and the point of connection, we believe that they are key figures that would be able to provide insight as to where is the root of the power of the abuse of power, and how deep it goes. you know, our suspicions are clearly that it goes deeper than bridget kelly, and that the people on that list would be able to provide that information. >> what do you make of the governor's statement that it was really bridget kelly who is behind all this, who lied to him and basically implied she was the one to initiate this whole bridge closing based upon what was unearthed as an e-mail statement from her. time for some traffic problems in ft. lee. he makes it sound like that's the beginning and end of this saga. is that accurate as you know it? >> well, i would find that very
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hard to believe on the bridget kelly that i know. she served the state legislature as a liaison to the governor's office. a very talented staffer. very responsive to us. but she was not someone who when we dealt with her on public policy, that she would make a decision on her own. she routinely would say let me go back and check in with the front office. i'll be sure to get back to you. to her credit, she always did. but she was not someone who would take that initiative or have that authority to make that decision on her own. i would find that very hard to believe that she would have nastnast masterminded the closure of the bridge solely on her own. that's what led to this investigation. the governor himself must be having a hard time believing that because he has launched his own investigation and hired outside counsel to review his executive office. i applaud him for that. i think any executive would have done that. i wish he would have done that sooner, but i think that's the right move. even his own actions don't suggest that he believes that it begins and ends with bridget
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kelly. and that's why quite honestly we made the decision we did over the weekend in bring in reid schar who has received remarkable accolades from people across the country for the hire. >> well, i'm skeptical, and i'll say that, because i'm an outsider watching this. but i got tell you, having watched the governor's testimony, at least in public, not under oath, that he never once had a conversation with any of his staff people, any of the appointees at the bridge authority, at port authority, never once evinced any evidence of any curiosity in his part, and in fact used to mock the press for saying i'm not going to be a prosecutor, i'm not going to conduct an investigation. now when he is caught in this web, he says i'm going to be the one investigating my whole team. it smacks of nixon and the so-called dean investigation there was no investigation. anyway, let me go to senator weinberg on that. do you have any confidence that chris christie would unearth the truth here on his own, having never -- having said i never tried to do it before, because damn it, it's not my job. he has already said it's not my job to investigate what i did. >> you know, chris, you're kind
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of hitting the nail on the head. for me, this issue is about really, it's almost two different issues. it is the crazy part of it that i describe who sat in their office and dreamed up a traffic jam in ft. lee to last four days and put thousands upon thousands of people in jeopardy and put our infrastructure in jeopardy. who thought that up and why? we don't have the answer to that. and i agree with my colleague, majority leader greenwald that none of us believe that bridget kelly did this on her own. that's one-half the story. the other half of the story is all the people who were in charge, whether we're talking about the governor, the port authority commissioners, none of them as far as i can see did anything to actually find out what went on here. people have known about this since september 13th.
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i myself wrote a letter to the port authority on september 19th. i cced the governor on it. i cced david samson on it. i wrote to commissioner pat schuber. in fact some of the documents have been released. there were emaims going back and forth trying to figure out how to say thank you for your inquiry. they actually sent my inquiry to david wildstein to draw up an answer for me. i mean, this whole thing is so out of hand. and i have to say this about the governor. either he knew and he is not being truthful with people, or he didn't want to know. and if he didn't want to know, that is as much of an indictment about his managerial style as not telling the truth. >> okay. what i like what i've heard about you said, senators, here is the question. you have always dealt with pat schuber. you could always count on somebody at some agency to give you an answer.
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you got to know people. they would give you quick answers and not waste your time with red tape. it sounds like you had that kind of relationship with mr. schuber. and then all of the sudden, a guy who has always been help to feel you as a legislator, a senior legislator, has all of the sudden clammed up, as if somebody from on top said no talking here. >> well, again, i can only go by what i know. i selected pat schuber because he is one of the people i voted for to put on the port authority. i selected pat schuber because we do have a personal and a very good and honest relationship. and i particularly selected pat schuber because i said to him, i know when you go on the port authority, you are a former county executive of bergen county. you will stand up for the people of bergen county. and that's why i reached out to pat schuber, who promised me he would get to the bottom of it. and you know what, chris? i'm still waiting. and i find it really difficult that the governor stated that he
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fired bridget kelly because she lied to him. but he wasn't curious to ask her why or who else knew about it or who told her to do this? he never asked her, nobody in his staff asked her, he just fired her. a very curious set of circumstances. >> majority leader greenwald, i want to ask you about what the governor has said so far and what you make of it. he said i believed in the traffic survey all the way up until mid-december when the people there like wildstein and of course baroni began to deny there was a traffic survey. at that point he briskly asked the staff for one hour, you got an hour to come forward and point the finger at yourself saying you done it, you did it. and after that he never asked any more questions. does that sound like a person protecting themselves from information about their own leadership or what? what kind of way is that to run an office? i don't have any interest them or any curiosity, and all of the sudden i'm giving my staff one hour, presto, to come forward
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and point the finger at themselves or i don't want to hear it again. that seemed to be a very well-constructed defense strategy, but not necessarily the performance of a chief executive you would like to see in a state after there has been this kind of an event. >> you know, chris, look, it clearly in my mind lacks credibility. but i know you can appreciate that as senator weinberg and i are active participants in this investigation from the legislative side. i can't go on instinct here. i can't go on what i think. i have to go on what the evidence shows. i think what is more compelling to me is the story that senator weinberg just told. nobody seems to know anything about this bridge, but everybody when they hear about the bridge seems to know to go to wildstein. that's what the real linchpin is. that's the most telling piece. nobody knows anything about the bridge. but when something comes up with the bridge, they all go to the same guy. and when you combine that with the statement that came from mr. wildstein through his attorney today, that, again, if immunity
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is provided, he can challenge the credibility of the statements that have been made, i haven't seen too many people make statements yet. but if he is talking about public statements, there is only a few people who have made the statements, and that's pretty obvious. if there are people who have talked to him again, i hope that will come out in the investigation that the senate and the assembly are undertaking. >> well, his attorney says that he won't speak. he said it again today that there is one way his client will talk, be cooperative. he tells the associated press, his attorney did, that if he gets immunity from the relevant entities. of course, the relevant entities include the two bodies of the legislature, assembly and senate. but also the prosecutors in new jersey. the federal prosecutors in new jersey and the southern district of new york, perhaps. how much immunity does this guy want for his client before the guy will tell the truth? and does that include you guys cooperating, giving him immunity? >> chris, from our side, from the investigations -- i'm sorry, loretta. >> no, i was just going to
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say -- just to clarify, we in the legislature can't and do not grant immunity. that's not part of our legal responsibility. but i just want to follow up on one other thing. november 25th, bill baroni came to the assembly transportation committee not under oath, not under subpoena, and spelled out a cover-up. if the governor didn't know until mid-december that that was a cover-up, anybody who knows anything about this area of bergen county knows that it was cover-up. we all know that there was no traffic study. but more important, they tried to spell a theory which i believe they tried to spell to make people jealous or something, that ft. lee had some kind of private road to the george washington bridge. they had dedicated lanes that were only for ft. lee residents. that is an absolute untruth. and all of us knew it a minute
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after those words came out of bill baroni's mouth. there are no private roads. there are no dedicated lanes. and if anybody else didn't know it, then they really don't know their jobs. >> okay. thank you very much, senator weinberg and assemblyman, majority leader louis greenwald. thank you both. please come back on the show again. coming up, the apparent vind dickiveness that has led to the bridge scandal has prompted other politicians in new jersey to say they too were victims of the governor's bullying. tonight a former prosecutor who says his firing was politically motivated. also, president obama tries to balance privacy concerns with the needs to protect the country from terrorists. today he pulled in the reins on part of the nsa's controversial phone surveillance program. and here is a bit of good news in the voter id front, something we care about here. a judge in pennsylvania has struck down the state's new voter id law saying it made it too difficult for some people to vote. but that's exactly why the republicans passed the law in
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the first place. and they have said so, to make it tougher on democrats. and leave to it barbara bush to say it's time for someone not named bush or clinton to run for president. she is talking you, jeb. this is "hardball," the place for politics. like a ramen noodle- every-night budget. she thought allstate car insurance was out of her reach. until she heard about the value plan. see how much you could save with allstate. are you in good hands? we're gonna be late. ♪ ♪ ♪ oh are we early? [ male announcer ] commute your way with the bold, all-new nissan rogue. ♪
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is chris christie wants to be president of the united states, he'll probably need to win the new hampshire primary. and the big newspaper up there is taking the george washington bridge scandal very seriously. take a look at this editorial from the union leader in manchester. if he, christie, was not telling the truth, his political career should be finished. the american people must not tolerate any politician of any party who would callously turn the machinery of the state against the people for his own personal gain. keep in mind that's a very conservative editorial board up there drawing a very clear line against governor christie. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." while the story of the george washington bridge was opened -- has opened our eyes to an unseemly culture of exacting political payback, and the office of governor christie appears to be one of many examples of intimidation and retribution to come out from trenton. in 2010, a grand jury in hunterdon returned a 143 count indictment of a local sheriff and her two deputies for abuse of power and misconduct. according to "the new york times," the sheriff was an active supporter of chris christie. but christie's attorney general that moved in. before long, the indictment against the sheriff's office was dismissed for what the state said were charges that sought to criminalize what it simply called bad management. there is no evidence the governor himself ordered the dismissal of the charges. but the prosecutors who originally brought the case were fired, and one of them joins us. now bennett barlynn is a former prosecutor who fought a lawsuit against the state of new jersey. also with us right now is michael powell, who covered the story for "the new york times."
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let me ask you, michael powell, thank you for joining us from "the new york times." this story you ran was in october, and it's only now given the fact that it's january, and after all these stories about the bridge closing and the mayhem behind it, if you will, it fits. tell me what you think it tells you in itself about what happened. does visit a story itself, or does it need to be appended to the larger bridge story? >> well, or you could argue that the bridge story is part of this long kind of pattern of real hardball politics by the governor. and he has -- in any number of ways kind of played retribution politics. and thing, the hunterdon case is a real good example. and of course the george washington bridge is perhaps a spectacular example of the same. >> well, if you look at it in just cartoon terms, a governor's person gets indicted for 43 counts. he sends in his attorney general, or his attorney general jumps in, frees the person from indictment, exonerates them, and
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then now that he exonerates them, goes after the people who went after him in the first place and fires all of them. it is pretty complete a story here of politics, not just -- if justice at all, certainly politics. >> oh, yeah. i think that, look, you have three really top-notch career prosecutors, republican, democrat, independent. they all get essentially their careers trashed for doing their job, for bringing in indictment. and i talked to the grand jurors. i talked to four or five of the grand jurors. they all spoke. this really seemed like a pretty simple case. and it was a simple case. it looks like until the attorney general who is appointed by the governor intervened. >> well, in your piece you showed reaction from several, several of the jurors in the abrupt dismissal and the indictments against the sheriff's office. one said the prosecutor was meticulous and so were we. really, the case felt like a no-brainer until the state killed it. another juror said, quote we had no real disagreements.
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and still another juror said, quote, i still get angry. it was shameful. and i keep trying to put it behind me because it was so obvious that this was about politics. mr. barlin, come in. and thank you. i know you have a case against the governor. but you were bringing a case. you got 43 counts approve bade grand jury. you had a case that grand jurors thought it was good case. when did you first sense politics was afoot when the governor's attorney general jumped in and pulled it out from under you. >> chris, we first became aware that this case was somewhat out of the ordinary when after the indictments were unsealed, it was reported in a local paper that one of the defendants, the undersheriff michael russo claimed to subordinates that governor christie himself, not the attorney general, not the lieutenant governor, but the governor himself was going to, quote, step in and kill the case. and subsequent events proved him correct. that's exactly what happened. not the governor, but the attorney general who in new
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jersey is an appointed official and really is an -- is basically a subordinate of the governor. >> when did you know you were going to be big footed by the ag? >> well, what happened is after the indictments were dismissed, and i wasn't the prosecutor who presented the case. that was a very experienced trial attorney by the name of bill mcgovern. but what happened is after the indictment was dismissed, and based on all of the suspicious events that preceded the dismissal, i encountered the acting prosecutor, the person who was installed by the attorney general during this period. and i said look, this is clearly wrong there. is no justification. there can't be any justification for the dismissal of all 43 counts there is a very high legal standard that has to be met to justify the dismissal. and i was the next day suspended without explanation. i asked for an explanation. i was told i wasn't entitled to one. i had to turn in my badge, access keys, so on.
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my internet connection to the office was severed immediately. and for three weeks i was in limbo until i received a one-sentence fax dismissal letter from the director of the division of criminal justice. >> did you feel all this time that you were under the punishing hand of chris christie? at the time? >> i felt whether it was christie or the administration in general, i clearly felt that the actions taken against me were vindictive, retaliatory, and most importantly, chris, were intended to send a message to my colleagues in the office that if anybody spoke out, there was going to be serious, serious consequences. >> well, what do you think of christie? >> well, it's difficult to think of him in positive terms after my experience. what's very interesting is when i was a prosecutor for the state in the mid-'90s, i was blogging
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on a website that was focused on criminal justice issues. and my blog posts are still accessible. i was effusive in my praise of the governor when he was a federal prosecutor, specifically because of his effectiveness in combatting pervasive corruption in new jersey. so i was frankly just stunned that this administration came in and did what it did. >> well, let me go back to michael powell reporting this. this michael russo guy, who was one of the defendants in the original 43-count indictments, he comes forward and tells somebody -- he gets quoted telling a colleague, don't worry, the governor is going to save us. and subsequently, the attorney general steps in. as i used the term big footed the prosecution, knocked out the indictments, all 43 of them. it sure looks like somebody has a friend from trenton. >> it certainly feels like that, chris. you look at the sheriff that is the one who hired russo was
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relatively -- exchanged a lot of e-mails with the lieutenant governor. one of the fundraisers for the governor was also questioned this case, because he had gotten sort of an illegal id from the sheriff. and that fundraiser actually was a pretty big friend of the governor's, political friend of the governor's. yes. it's one of these things. it's kind of like you put your hand all around the foot of the elephant, and it sure looks like an elephant. >> it sure looks like a lot of material for the vetters if this guy ever runs for president. thank you, ben barlyn and michael powell. tomorrow morning on up with steve kornacki, the mayor of hoboken, new jersey, the home of frank sinatra says that she too was politically targeted by the christie crowd. steve kornacki has done a hell of a job this week. that's tomorrow morning. up next, stay out of the bushes. that's what jesse jackson famously once said. but now barbara bush is saying
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the same thing, but with somewhat different vocabulary, maybe. this is "hardball," the place for politics. my name is jenny, and i quit smoking with chantix.
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♪ back to "hardball." time for the sideshow. they say two out of three ain't bad. but after the president soyfs his father and his brother, jeb bush may be wondering if his time will ever come. he has a lot of support within his own party. but when it comes to his own family, it's a different story. in a c-span interview aired yesterday, his mother, former first lady barbara bush said again she hopes he doesn't. >> i think this is a great american country, great country. and if we can't find more than two or three families to run for high office, that's silly. and i think the kennedys, the
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clintons, bushes, they're just more families than that. i would hope that someone else would run. although there is no question in my mind that jeb is the best qualified person to run for president. but i hope he won't. because i think he'll get all my enemies. >> get all my enemies, if she has any. it's not the first time the outspoken matriarch has downplayed a third bush presidency. she made a similar statement last april. but who knows if jeb is feeling left out of the family tradition, if you will. after all, it was he, they say, who had his sights set on the white house long before his brother george w. decided to run in 2000. we dug deep into the nbc archives and found some clips from jeb's younger days. as it turns out, politics wasn't always in his blood. here he is campaigning in puerto rico during his father's first presidential bid back in 1980. that was 34 years ago. as you'll see, he was lot more apprehensive in those days.
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>> what's it like being the professional son of the candidate down here? >> it's not something that i would like to do the rest of my life, no. i get nervous at first. just -- i'm not a politician. >> but jeb evolved. by the time his father was in his second term as vice president, in 1985, jeb was a lot less apprehensive and a lot more coy when asked about his political ambitions. >> jeb, you're gop county chairman in florida, right, dade county. are you looking to a career in politics? is that where your future lies? >> i can get about half the income that you make, then i can get into politics afterwards. until i attain, that i can't talk. >> i would be doing this for free. >> bryant gumbel. jeb would go on to become florida's secretary of commerce, and then governor of florida. but the question remains how many bushes are too many bushes? in other news today, it's michelle obama's 50th birthday today. and to celebrate the milestone, the first lady of the country
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tweeted out this photograph of herself showing off her newly minted aarp card. excited to join barack in the 50-plus club today she wrote. i wonder if that's true. i hope she is spending it tonight watching "hardball" this evening, of course. happy birthday, michelle. i'm a big michelle fan. up next, the right to privacy versus the national security. the old fight again. president obama's delicate balancing act on domestic surveillance. going to talk about snowden here too. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. welcome back. how is everything? there's nothing like being your own boss! and my customers are really liking your flat rate shipping. fedex one rate. really makes my life easier. maybe a promotion is in order.
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i'm milissa rehberger. sheer what is happening. the worst dry spell in more than century forces california governor brown to declare an emergency. around southern california, fire crews are battling a wildfire that has forced thousands of people from their homes. it's char in order than 1700 acres and is about 30% contained. and the cdc says the flu is continuing its spread across the u.s. it is now widespread in 40 states. back to "hardball."
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the snowden disclosures have identified some areas of legitimate concern. some of it has also been highly sensationalized. part of what we're doing over the next month or so is having done an independent review, brought a whole bunch of folks, civil libertarians and lawyers and others to examine what is being done. i'll be proposing some self-restraint on the nsa. and to initiate some reforms that can give people more confidence. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was president obama in his interview with him last month, speaking on an issue that has been certainly concerning him and the whole country since the snowden disclosures began last may. government surveillance of us. now he is taking steps to make good on his promise.
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in a speech this morning, the president outlined the steps he planned to take to reform the nsa's approach to intelligence gathering. he struck a very careful balance today, stressing the need for surveillance, while recognizing the privacy concerns of citizens. here is om of the reforms the president laid out. the establishment of a panel of privacy advocates who will be permitted to argue before the fisa court on certain cases. in other words, to make a case against the intelligence community in many case. a reduction of the range of phone numbers that can be targeted when mapping potential terrorist communications. and most significant perhaps, that the government should no longer hold the meta data that they have collected that is the record of phone calls they have collected associated with any particular phone number. sheer what the president had to say than. >> i believe we need a new approach. i am therefore ordering a transition that will end the section 215 bulk metadata programs as it currently exists
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without the government holding this bulk metadata. >> the specifics have not yet been determined and questions still linger where the data 140 be kept. david corn. joy reid, managing editor of the grio and msnbc contributor. i want to start with joy and go quick to david. two questions i got in mind. it's all we're going get to probably. one, do you have a clear notion? is the government going to keep this metadata? in other words, phone calls made from you to me, from him to her, whatever. should they keep that or keep it in some third party locale if not verizon or one of the telecommunications companies, somebody, besides the government. and what good does that do if they can reach it quickly? i don't know. why it is important? >> that is sort of the question i had as well. number one, if it is that we're going to have private company, a private third party keep the data, i'm not sure that that would make me feel any more secure. we've had target.
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we've had major companies have their data breached. the data more secure at a private company? i'm not so sure than. number two, let's say a government contractor keeps it. well, the only time that i can think of that the nsa's proprietary information was stolen was by edward snowden who worked for a contractor of the national security agency. so i'm not how secure that is either. i've never been that compelled by the argument that somehow the data is safer with a private company. we definitely have this weird level of comfort with private entities like google and facebook, but not the government? >> maybe, david, you can answer that i heard her skepticism. but maybe if that's their only job is to keep it secret, maybe they can handle that job. they don't have any other functions except hold it like a safe deposit box. when you go with your combination and key and get it out and take it back. but i still don't think that protects us. >> with the judge's order. >> the fisa judge. >> the fisa judge. if you want to dip into that data, you need this.
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i too -- >> but today you don't need that fisa judgment? >> the nsa doesn't need that. they have their own protocols. they can decide on their own to do this. you can make the argument. you can trust the government, trust the private contractor or trust verizon or not trust them. the question is whether the government should be doing this or not. to me, there has been so much focus on the metadata plan or program, we have lost sight of a lot of the other edward know citizen proclamations. how the nsa has been getting into the internet back doors. very little of that in the president's speech tonight. personally, i care more about that, about surveillance programs that may affect the internet and online, more than i care about a gigantic phone book and records and whoever holds on it. >> let me go back to joy on this. it seems to me the united states government has so much potential. well tracked bin laden, for example, i don't think he could go anywhere near a cell phone for all the years he was on the
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lam. my question is that shows the system is working. they're keeping people from using state-of-the-art communications for terrorist purposes because they can hear everything, or at least track it. >> right. the challenge has always been that those on the libertarian side left and right who want to stop collecting data period, no more big data, the government should be blind to this data haven't answered the question what happens if there is a terror attack and we find out that this suspect was calling into our out of the united states, and now the government really can't backtrack their communications because now there is no data in this data dump at all. nobody is really answered how that is supposed to work. i think a lot on the libertarian side would say that's just too bad. it's just going to have to be old-fashioned gumshoe work to find out what this suspect was up to. >> that doesn't sound too good after a building has been blown up and 4,000 people are dead. >> that's the problem. >> the whole question is what happens afterwards if you say you had the capability, but didn't use it because you were squeamish about civil liberties. legitimately squeamish. but that isn't going to sell.
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will it sell? >> i thought the president's speech today was great, much better than the actual proposals because he talked about the dilemmas and the tensions to try to get it right. >> honestly. >> he talked about it honestly. he talked about abuses in the past and potential abuses in the future. and ultimately, if you're going to do anything secret via the government, there has to be a certain amount of oversight that you can trust. up to now for decades we've had congresses and often presidents that aren't trustworthy when you come to this. how the president can find a way to restore that trust in a highly polarized environment, i don't know. >> don't you create a culture? >> yes. >> quickly, how do you react to snowden today? how did he read that? if you're snowden over there in moscow, how do you react to it? was he pro or anti-snowden? >> i bet snowden was absolutely delighted. not by the change, but if you look what the president said thematically, it was all about the importance, the debate, and all these big issues. >> he legitimized the concerns. >> totally.
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>> joy, it wasn't anti-snowden, i didn't think. but certainly he might be in that position of saying okay, he did the right thing morally, like john brown did the right thing morally. but he got hanged anyway. so maybe it's like that. if you're going commit civil disobedience, you have to pay the price, even though you are the good guy. i'm not sure where he came down on. this what do you think? >> i thought he was still expressing the same annoyians that snowden go flew the channels that were appropriate. >> you mean give to it bob woodward? that's the right channel, isn't it? >>. no i don't think this white house gives anything to bob woodward. i think that's why bob a wowoodd is so annoyed about them. i still think he was speaking from that perspective, not being pro snowden. but those guys are not happy with what snowden did. i think he was speaking on their side. what was really fascinating is how ron wyden, who has been one of the fiercest critics of these programs rushed right out to declare victory and to sort of declare total victory and to say
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bulk data collection has been ended. which i'm not sure the president is doing. it was interesting, the politics of the hill. >> all right. you're as old as me. you're going to be arguing this. >> it's a good debate. >> this is what americans should argue about all the time. rights versus security is the argument. >> it is. and the president did a good job of laying out the groundwork. >> thank you so much, guys. have a nice weekend, david cornyn, joy reid. up next, a judge in pennsylvania, yay, strikes down that state's voter id law. again, the courts are on the good guys' side. and one of the republicans passed and said to make it hard for democrats to vote. boy is that malicious. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ate. ♪ ♪ ♪
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we're back. today a big victory in pennsylvania for voting rights that provides a sign to push back to the republican-led voter suppression effort that swept through more than 35 states in 2013 alone.
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a pennsylvania judge struck down the state's voter id law, writing in his opinion, i love these words, voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election. the voter id law does not further this goal. well, that's simple english. in a map we've shown you many times, you can see here that republicans, and it is republicans in this case, it is a partisan problem, in 36 states, advanced legislation just last year to suppress the voting rights of those who vote democrat. often they happen to be african-americans, minorities, and also young people and older people. according to the advancement project, every one of those bills was introduced, as i said, by partisan republicans. pennsylvania may buck that trend because of the court ruling today. joining me right now is judith brown dianis, and ryan haygood. i want to start with judith. i've been talking to you a lot about this. it's almost like an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object. it just keeps coming. they don't get the message.
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we've got these pennsylvania people that just openly say it's for political gain. they don't bs us, they just say, fewer black votes, fewer big city votes, more chances our guys win. >> it's total manipulation for their own gain. but today we had a huge victory for democracy. you showed several times, representative turzi, admitting it's all about politics. >> voter i.d., which is going to allow governor romney to win the state of pennsylvania, done. >> done. >> done! that's right. >> well, today, we say, check for democracy. >> and let me show you another guy, chairman of the republican party, robert kasich, i met him last month. here he is doing the same thing, openly and transparently cheering the votes of democrats.
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>> do you think all the attention drown to voter i.d. affected last year's elections? >> yeah, i think a little bit. i think we probably had a better election. think about this, we cut obama by 5%, which was big. a lot of people lost sight of that. he beat mccain by 10%. he only beat romney by 5%. i think that probably photo i.d. helped a bit in that. >> and that's the mere intimidation factor of people being afraid there was a new voter i.d. law after the courts had banned it. >> because they tried to mislead the voters. after we got a preliminary injunction. but today -- >> what do you make of this bare-faced admission on the part of the republicans in pennsylvania. they do this to make sure that people who look like you can't vote. they just do it. >> that's right. because they believe that people are going to vote a certain way. this is the way they try to steal the election. >> let's go to the naacp, ryan haygood, how does this fit into the history of voting rights. literacy tests, spell this in greek, all the old games, poll
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taxes, and outright, you can't vote here, you're black. and now we have states that fought for the union in the civil war, that all their leaders have been for civil rights, all the good guys, and yet the rank and file leaders in the senate and the house up there are openly against black voting as a political imperative. >> sure, chris. thanks for having me on your show, as always. i think you're right. i think these photo i.d. laws are a bygone area of poll taxes and other impediments to the ballot box. what's most striking about today's opinion, though, chris, is that the commonwealth of pennsylvania spent millions and millions of taxpayer dollars, promoting a photo i.d. measure that they said they needed the to protect against this-person voter fraud. and what is striking here is that the result of this case really is that the only evidence of fraud at the end of the day is the photo i.d. measure itself. the court found that by conservative estimates, a half a million registered voters and up to 1.3 million voters in
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pennsylvania, don't have access to the type of i.d. that the commonwealth was requiring, and pennsylvania only was table to provide 17,000 i.d.s to the class of folk who is didn't have the photo i.d. so i think what this case today stands for is a proposition that where we really should be going, to your point about the history of our democracy, is toward greater expansion of the franchise. and we've seen the last several elections, historic turnout by a broad class of folks, people of color, young women, voters, disabled voters. and that is a trend that we really should be seeking to harness the moment of, rather than making voting more difficult for people, as pennsylvania's photo i.d. measure sought to do. >> judith, do you think this is because of fear? >> this is definitely about changing de ining demographics. this is kind of their last stand. but at the end of the day, advancement project and the aclu teamed up with the public interest center and we won in pennsylvania, we won for voters. we now have a new voting rights act that has been introduced.
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and so we're going to make sure that they don't get to this. >> and you've got some friends out there like bernard mcginley. thank you, judith brown. ryan haygood, just kidding. a little ethnic there. by the way, you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] here's a question for you:
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let me finish tonight with that pennsylvania judge's decision to strike down the new voter law, the new voter law in pennsylvania. conservatives, we should recall, pay a great deal of attention to
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what's called original intent in the u.s. constitution. what did those men meeting in philadelphia back then intend when they wrote the declaration of independence and the u.s. constitution? so let me ask a question about the new voter law in pennsylvania. what is the intention of requiring that voters present a state-issued photo identification card? what's the purpose? well, fortunately, we know that intention, because the leader who is pushed the law to enactment have told us. they have told us that its purpose is to reduce the number of democratic votes. they have told us this. they have made it crystal clear. it's not that they don't like minorities per se, they don't like minorities showing up and voting democrat on election day. i salute the judge because of what he did striking down the new voter i.d. law, but also because of why he said he did it. quote, voter laws are designed to assure a fair and free election. the voter i.d. law does not further this goal. what leaves pending appeal, the
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tool box of voter suppression, now contains one less tool. the people who believe in democracy, this is good news, indeed. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being us. a "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. we have a big show tonight, including news about west virginia and the company responsible for the spill you will only see on this program. but, miles north in new jersey today, we now know who got the subpoenas. today, confirmation of 20 people and organizations who have officially been served. many of the names we've talked about on the show before, regena, bridgette kelly, david sampson, chairman of port authority, close adviser to the governor, and then there's christie himself. last night i asked the man who is sending the

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